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Laurence Dessart and Valentina Pitardi

Today, storytelling content is heavily used by brands to attract or retain consumers. Despite branded stories having the power to strongly impact consumer behavior and attitudes, to the best of the authors’ knowledge there is still no research that addresses this topic from a broader engagement perspective. Based on extant narrative and engagement theory, this chapter proposes a conceptual framework of story-based consumer engagement and develops a set of conceptual relationships between story-based elements and consumer engagement’s specific dimensions. By analyzing each story’s components, the authors develop an integrated framework. While the story plot serves to enhance consumer absorption in the branded narrative, thereby developing cognitive engagement, the story’s characters are a fundamental means for consumers to empathize with the characters and live the story from the inside, thereby reflecting an emotional connection to the story. In addition, the story’s verisimilitude stimulates consumers’ cognitive processing, thereby resulting in the consumer’s behavioral response. The chapter concludes with an overview of key research limitations and implications that arise from this work.